Sai Tamhankar: Sadly, our industry still tries to put you in a box - Hindustan Times

Sai Tamhankar: Sadly, our industry still tries to put you in a box

ByAkash Bhatnagar
Apr 22, 2024 02:51 PM IST

Sai Tamhankar talks about the wait to get recognition in Hindi cinema, facing stereotyping as a Marathi actor and the after affects of Mimi success

Actor Sai Tamhankar has been a part of the film industry for 16 years now, yet she is just a few films old in Bollywood. Mention it to her and she says, “Very sadly, our industry still tries to put you in a box. No matter how much we say things are changed, but after Hunterr, I was offered only similar kind of roles. I knew that only I will be able to break that circle and I am glad I chose to wait.”

Sai Tamhankar on stereotyping of Marathi actors
Sai Tamhankar on stereotyping of Marathi actors

The wait for that recognition in Hindi ended with the 2021 film Mimi for the 37-year-old. The film brought appreciation and laurels for her, along with an important lesson: “With doing good content, it is also necessary to be a part of a commercially successful film because eventually it is the film business. After Mimi, my existence became stronger, people started seeing me.”

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However, having her roots is Marathi cinema has acted against her getting work in Hindi. Tamhankar shares, “Earlier, actors like me who have a Maharashtrian background, we would only be called for a Maharashtrian character. It’s a tough world. It’s not like you do a good film and you are set. It’s a trend we have only made, we are fully responsible for it.”

But even after being a renowned name in Marathi cinema, the Bhakshak actor has no qualms about starting from zero again in Hindi. She says, “Marathi is my mother tongue; Hindi is another language that I can speak. So, I am perfectly alright starting from the scratch in an industry that doesn’t know me completely. I am okay proving myself and starting from zero all over again. I see at it very positively as something that fuels you.”

Currently, Tamhankar has three Hindi projects in pipeline: Ground Zero, Agni and Dabba Cartel. Talking about them, the actor says, “It takes a lot of investment of your time, emotions, hard work, sacrifices and I am glad that finally it’s all worth it.” Dabba Cartel sees the actor share screen space with actor Shabana Azmi and she considers that a privilege. “I had butterflies in my stomach while working with Shabana ji. I have grown up watching her performances and seen every film of hers. It was like a dream come true to be in front of her and be in her company. She has such a great sense of humour, and it feels great to know her personally. It gives me a feeling that I have come a long way,” she says.

Up next, Tamhankar says she is ready to surprise the audience with a new side of her. “I am not a person who can sit still. I need to be exploring new things and lately I have been feeling that I should learn a musical instrument and try my hand at singing. Let’s see where it takes me,” she ends.

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